Save the Date. Join us for a celebration of Riverside and the community’s commitment to a sustainable, prosperous and just future.
Environmental Protections at Risk as South Coast Air Quality Board Ousts its Leader
DIAMOND BAR, CALIF. (March 4, 2016) — Board members of the South Coast Air Quality Management District today ousted Executive Officer Barry Wallerstein after 18 years of service. Chief Financial Officer Michael O’Kelly was named interim Executive Officer.
The 7-6 vote was made after the closed session portion of a public hearing in Diamond Bar and signals a potential shift in the Board’s priorities and political leanings, as well as interests that are influencing them. Many speculate that the move is a power grab by those with close ties to large polluters, like those in the fossil fuel industry.
The vote comes just a month after the Coastal Commission fired its Executive Director, Charles Lester, despite an overwhelming public showing of support for the leader by community members and environmental groups.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District is set to vote on a vital clean air plan later this year.
Following is a statement by Morgan Wyenn, Staff Attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council:
“We are concerned that today’s vote signifies that the Board’s new members are gearing up to undermine and weaken one of the nation’s most important air regulatory agencies. The role of Executive Officer is a difficult job. But its hugely important. Our region deserves someone who has the guts to adopt and enforce needed regulations to clean up the air. Communities across the air basin have the right to the clean air and we will fight to make sure the AQMD does its job to finally make good on the promise of the Clean Air Act.”
Following is a statement by Nidia Erceg, Deputy Policy Director Coalition for Clean Air:
“Now is a pivotal time for clean air. We need to hit the accelerator on our efforts to clean up deadly pollution and advance clean energy. This board has a history of nonpartisan cooperation, and this agency is recognized nationally as a science based leader in air quality protection, but its stature and effectiveness are now threatened by political maneuvering and oil industry influence.”
Following is a statement by Evan Gillespie, My Generation Campaign Director for The Sierra Club:
“The AQMD has been hijacked by big polluters, and Dr. Wallerstein’s ouster is a very troubling sign that the Board intends to roll back the clock on air quality and public health. It’s like they’ve kidnapped the agency, the getaway vehicle is a time machine, and they’re heading to 40 years in the past, when industry could run roughshod over the community’s health. Over the last few decades, Southern California has made tremendous progress in reducing deadly smog by putting in place stringent air quality control measures. While we have a long way to go until the air is truly breathable, we must continue to go forward not backwards.”
About the Natural Resources Defense Council
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world’s natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us atwww.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.
About the Sierra Club
The Sierra Club’s My Generation Campaign is working to power California with 100% clean energy. We organize communities across the state to demand local clean energy as a way to improve air quality, create jobs, and take action against climate change. Together, we can help build a stronger and more equitable California, in which all people can breathe healthy air, all energy is clean and renewable, and everyone benefits from a successful economy and a sustainable environment.
About the Coalition for Clean Air
Since our founding in 1971, we’ve seen remarkable strides in clean air. Gone are the days when you couldn’t see the mountains if you lived next to them, when your eyes burned and when you couldn’t go outside. The only thing is — our air is still very, very bad. CCA is California’s only statewide organization working exclusively on air quality issues. From creating the idea for California’s original Smog Check program in 1981 to ensuring the first national ban on the toxic dry cleaning chemical “perc” to helping pass legislation to put 1 million electric vehicles on California’s roads by 2025, CCA has paved the way for socially and environmentally responsible air policy nationally and worldwide.Today we maintain a small, dedicated staff with offices in Sacramento and Los Angeles working toward the goal of clean air throughout California.http://www.ccair.org/Twitter @CleanairCA
Here’s a good overview on the problem of lead in our communities. Lead in pipes, paint and gasoline. Riverside, being a older community, should review the possible impacts.
Has RPU changed out any lead pipes? Have we ever conducted a survey of our housing stock, to understand the possible depth of exposure locally? Should the city work with county environmental health to provide educational outreach? Are there grants for such public health education or abatement programs?
As a point made in this discussion, the impact mostly falls upon our lower income neighborhoods who reside in older housing stock.
Also, to some degree, just as the lead industry pushed back on the science on lead impacts, the PCB industry has pushed back on the science on PCBs. Something to keep in mind when considering the AG Park.
April 23 – Don’t Miss It!
Riverside Green Festival and Leadership Summit
Click image to download sponsorship form
Celebrate Riverside’s leadership in sustainability with a fun-filled festival and facilitated summit. Join us at Riverside Community College’s quad, garden, and digital library auditorium on April 23, 2016. This event will raise awareness, engage community, and create connections that help Riverside become more sustainable in a variety of ways.
The Green Festival will include outdoor interactive activities; themed indoor lectures and workshops; and movies with discussions. After lunch, a Summit forum will be conducted to solicit input from the community about ways that residents can partner with the city, businesses, and groups to create a “Green Renaissance” for the greater Riverside area.
Program tracks include:
✓ Local Foods
✓ Waste Prevention and Reuse
✓ Wildlife, Watersheds, and Native Plants.
This collaborative event will offer hands-on art, educational, and fun activities. We will provide “take-home” ideas for sustainable living and educate residents about using their “purchasing power” for the benefit of our local economy.
The City of Riverside and many community partners have undertaken a variety of efforts to make Riverside a greener, safer, and healthier place. This event will showcase those efforts and create network connections between those working toward a sustainable future.
To provide this event free to the public, we ask for your participation and/or support by considering a sponsorship.
When you support this extraordinary event, please indicate your interest and submit the enclosed form by February 15, 2016 to ensure the inclusion of your logo/credits in promotional materials. Please email high resolution logo/artwork at your earliest convenience for inclusion in the program, flyer, and social media to Ruiz@rcrcd.org.
If you are unable to assist financially, please consider providing a relevant creative, educational, or fun activity. (See forms attached). Should you have any questions about sponsorship or participation, please contact Diana Ruiz at firstname.lastname@example.org, (909) 238-8338, or Justin Scott Coe at email@example.com, 909-238-6199.
We are looking forward to seeing you at the Green Festival and Summit.
The Green Riverside Leadership Summit Collaborative
The Green Riverside Leadership Summit (GRLS) collaborative is a group of community leaders who are working toward a more environmentally sustainable future. Riverside has held two Green Riverside Leadership Summits, one in 2012 and 2014. These events provide the opportunity for community members to collectively review progress in becoming a more sustainable city, set goals for future collaborative projects, and develop a resource network to support and promote existing programs. Join us! The GRLS collaborative is an outgrowth of Riverside’s Seizing Our Destiny initiative and is aligned with goals of the Riverside Sustainability Coalition.
In a massive show of force, UCR students scoured hillsides and arroyos to collect a trailer load of trash. Over seventy five participants from numerous fraternities.collaborated with the University Neighborhood and Friends Of Riverside’s Hills to reinvigorate Watkins Drive, Gateway to the University Neighborhood.
The morning’s haul included a well used triple recliner couch minus remote, nine tires, a bumper with plate plus thirty five bags of assorted trash. These guys climbed hills and scampered down into arroyos to retrieve the bounty.
In a straw poll at the end, students indicated an interest in a potential collaboration to help build the new C Trail in the Box Springs Mountains. It seems like a perfect legacy project for students, alumnae association and the UCR Foundation.
This batch of trash can be appreciated for a short time only. City crews will find this easily accessible at this location.
A second pile of bags of green waste and assorted construction debris is at the top of Watkins Drive at Gernert Rd. It’s up the hill.
Thanks to Keep Riverside Clean and Beautiful for the tools, gloves and safety vests. There weren’t close to enough, but some of these guys worked bare handed.
The area is transformed because of your generosity and support.
Join us Saturday, November 21st at 10 a.m. Meet up just South of the the corner of Piccacho and Watkins Dr.
Coffee courtesy of Starbuck’s Canyon Crest, pastries courtesy of the Friends Of Riverside’s Hills.
Student volunteers courtesy of UCR’s fraternities and sororities.
Climbing hills and arroyos to scour trash is what makes this sherpa country so wear sturdy shoes..Gloves, safety vests, tools and waivers will be provided and required.
For questions or more information, call 951-640-3868.